Sunday, June 27, 2010

Two-Lined Spittlebug


 This small but pretty little bug is a Two-Lined Spittlebug (Prosapia bicincta).  They are approximately 3/8 of in inch long and somewhat thick bodied. They are black with two orangish-yellow stripes and red eyes. There is a mark right behind the thorax that is very heart-like in shape.They are very common in meadows, and other grassy areas throughout the Eastern United States. Usually you will see the signs of the nymphs much more often than you will see the adults.

Just look for the spit!


Females lay eggs in the fall that overwinter. In the spring the eggs hatch and the young nymphs begin feeding. As nymphs they hide out in this foamy, spit-like substance that is attached to various plant stems. They will feed on the juices from the plant all tucked away safe and sound inside this very unique camo. There seems to be some debate as to what purpose the spit has.....some feel it may keep the nymph from drying out or desiccating. It may also be a form of protection from enemies that may want to feed on them.



The adults feed on holly predominantly. Ornamental plants and turf grasses can be harmed by the feeding habits of the nymphs and the adults. This usually will not happen if plants or grasses are healthy. Should a large infestation occur then measures may be needed to remove them from your yard. I have hundreds of these little guys around our farm, I rarely see much damage because of them.


For me these globs of spit on the plants is a sure sign that summer is in full swing. Starting in about late May or early June they are everywhere. There is no end to the wonderful, unique and crazy ways that insects can protect themselves or hide away from predators. Spit, in my opinion , ranks right up there at the top.

13 comments:

  1. That bug reminds me of a tutu-wearing ballerina smoking a cigarette...two things that just don't go together. How can such a pretty little bug (and with a red heart on it no less) be responsible for all that nasty spit in the meadow? I never thought to look up a spittlebug to see what it looked like. I never would have guessed something that pretty was responsible for those spit nests. Goodness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, learn something new every day. I've seen that spit before and didn't have a clue what caused it. I'd kind of worried it was foaming out of a cut in a plant's stem or something, but was always relieved when the plant carried on as usual. :)

    Thanks for the info!

    ReplyDelete
  3. LOL Maria, I love your analogy. Too funny...tutu wearing smoking ballerina...hehehe
    I know what you mean though...it doesn't add up does it, when you look at the adult and then the nasty spit....When i first spotted these little spitwads in the grass I blamed my husband I felt kinda bad once I realized he had nothing to do with it...lol

    ReplyDelete
  4. Meredith, next time you see a spot of spit....sift through it...although you might want to make sure IT IS the bug that left the spit behind....lol

    ReplyDelete
  5. Oh, my goodness! What a pretty little spit bug. ♥ :D

    ReplyDelete
  6. LOL Jayleigh....thank you. I'm pretty fond of them too, such bright coloration on something so tiny, must taste bad!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  7. once again... stunning shots!!! .. the spit bugs are busy busy this year.. so much rain and the mild winter has mad a burgeoning population.. out comes the hose.. i refuse to kill them so i wash them away or remove them to grass or something..

    ReplyDelete
  8. Thank you so much for your kind words. I agree these guys have been WAY BUSY this year. I have them all over the place. Usually we only see them in the grassy areas near the fields or garden. This year they have made an appearance in the flower beds up by the house. I am like you and try to not kill anything, if I can relocate it or encourage it to move somewhere else all the better.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Is there any other big that makes these spit nests? I'm in upstate ny and have never seen a spittlebug although I may have just over liked them.

    ReplyDelete
  10. These bugs are pests that damage holly plants by sucking out the green material within the leaves, thus causing considerable damage and unsightly looking leaves. Kill them if you can. They might be cute, according to you women, but they are damaging pests. You have been warned.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Spittlebugs also can bite. It can be quite painful. They don't normally seek you out but will bite at times. It feels like a horsefly bite.

    ReplyDelete
  12. I just got bit and yes didn't feel to good! Wasn't sure what kind of bug it was I killed it and then I looked at him and then look him up.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can attest that the little buggers bite! That’s how I found this site. I was sitting on my patio a few days ago and felt a sting on my leg. I looked down and saw this bug. I can’t say I remember ever seeing one before although I’ve seen plenty of their spit. Funny thing... as kids we thought it was snake spit for some reason. :) Anyway, I just saw another one while on the patio and got a picture of it. I got curious what it was called and found it with a search online. I did another search to see if they bite and the comment above mine was about all there was. I guess not many get bitten by them. It does feel like a horsefly bite although maybe not quite as bad. I don’t have any holly plants and to my knowledge, neither do my neighbors. I think they may be eating my St. Augustine grass if that’s one they like.

    ReplyDelete